Stretch Marks

Woman on a poolside with smooth skin wearing swimsuit

Stretch marks, otherwise known as striae distensae, are a form of discolored scar found in the skin. They are caused by shearing forces or tearing of the deeper skin layers and are generally permanent. Depending on one’s skin type and the age of the scar they can appear brown, white, or red. Stretch marks often begin red, often leading to brown and subsequently lose pigmentation totally. Depending on their severity, they can develop textural abnormalities that appear like cigarette paper.

Stretch marks generally result from rapid stretching of the skin associated with pregnancy, rapid growth spurts, weight gain, muscle building, severe hormonal fluctuations and/or abuse of drugs like topical or oral steroids that weaken the skin.

Fraxel Treatment for Stretch Marks

Common areas for developing stretch marks are the abdomen, the breasts, inner upper arms, thighs, hips and buttocks. They pose no health threat but are cosmetically unappealing.

To date, topical therapy has proven to be totally ineffective despite their availability and the marketing of products in stores. Currently, there are only two treatments used for stretch marks at our office. When stretch marks are red and relatively new, the VBeam pulsed-dye laser can reduce the redness, improve the texture and slow down the scar’s progression in its tracks*. More recently, Non Ablative Fractional Laser Resurfacing, or Fraxel Restore, improves white or brown stretch marks without risk to the skin*. In only 4-5 treatments, dramatic improvement can be made*. Read about these procedures on our site and ask Dr Frank if you are right for these treatments.

Stretch Mark Removal (Red Stretch Marks) Before and After


What makes you a candidate for the scar camouflage or laser for stretch marks removal?

I tend to use these on laser resistant stretch marks. Particularly, old white ones or people with darker skin who may not be responsive to laser.

How quickly can you see results after stretch marks removal treatment?

No matter what we do whether it’s microneedling, camouflage, or laser you should see a difference after the first treatment but it’s rare for it to take just one treatment.

Are there any side effects from the lasers that you use for stretch marks removal?

There’s always potential side effects for any cosmetic treatment. Certainly older scars or stretch marks, certain skin types are susceptible so it’s important to speak to your provider about the potential pros and cons.

What is recovery like for a stretch marks removal treatment?

All of the treatments generally are a few days of recovery. You always have to keep it out of the sun and realize it’s going to be about 3-5 days.

How far apart are the stretch marks removal treatment sessions?

I generally like to say monthly. We’d love to be able to stack them and get them quicker but it does take time to see the end result so if you want to look good in the summer you need to start in the winter.

What is the hardest area on the body to treat for stretch marks removal?

Inner thighs are hard, sometimes the buttocks. Surprisingly, easy areas to treat that are super comfortable are the breasts, the back of the knees, and everyone is doing the stomach and the outer thighs.

What’s the pain like for stretch marks removal treatment?

There’s no cosmetic treatment that should be torture. The doc or provider needs to properly anestezie you. Most treatments end up annoying, but tolerable.

How many sessions must you take for stretch marks removal?

There’s no cosmetic treatment that should be torture. The doc or provider needs to properly anesthetize you. Most treatments end up annoying, but tolerable.

What if the skin is wrinkly on the abdomen with stretch marks?

This is where I really like to utilize energy delivered microneedling. It really helps the stretch mark in addition to tightening crepey skin.

Can you do anything about stretch marks on breasts once they are white?

It’s usually a very embarrassing area and people are nervous to bring it up but they actually respond beautifully. Particularly with white stretch marks. They tend to take the fewest treatments and people do amazing.

Can a 15 year old get stretch marks removal treatment or do you recommend waiting?

A lot of young adults as young as 10-11 years old get it. I treat very young people because you’re going to get the best result by catching it early when the tissue is inflamed.

Do stretch marks completely fade away from this treatment?

I’m sometimes shocked at how much I can get rid of it, sometimes even 100%. Most people I look to get anywhere from 70-90% improvement.